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"A true Franklin icon" Jack Wood remembered

Jack Wood.png
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 19:45:46-04

FRANKLIN — The Wizard of Oz said "a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." People in Franklin loved Jack Wood.

WRTV introduced you to Wood in September 2017 when he celebrated his 82nd birthday with the community he loved. A Facebook page, "Franklin Loves Jack Wood," has more than 2,300 followers.

On Sunday, there was a different kind of celebration for Wood- the celebration of a life well lived. He died September 12, but his memory lives on.

"[He was] a true Franklin icon, like our unofficial town greeter, someone that if you've never met Jack and you got an opportunity to, you would never forget him," Tony Priola, owner of The Willard, said.

Business owners took care of Jack as one of their own and what they gave to him, he gave in return.

"The day wasn't complete unless you saw him and had a discussion with him about how his day is going and it forced you to slow down," Jason Tapp, owner of Greeks Pizzeria and Tapp Room, said. "It was a given that I could always assume that I could find him at my bar ordering the same thing for lunch, knowing that some things never change. He was always in good spirits and it always lifted me up just to know that Jack was there."

It's hard to picture the streets of Downtown Franklin without seeing him and his signature slow walk down the sidewalk or a friendly wave from the bench named in his honor.

Jack Wood Friendship Bench

"Jack Wood was probably the kindest and givingest person I know," Rob Shilts, Executive Director of Franklin Heritage and the Historic Artcraft Theatre, said. "To have a Jack Wood in your town and to have people in town protecting the Jack Woods, every community would be better if they followed Jack's lead."

The Artcraft hosted the Celebration of Life and Wood's name was on the marquee.

Jack Wood Marqee

Shilts remembers Wood walking in parades and handing out candy and also performing at the Artcraft.

"He loved getting dressed up in costume and he would play any role and he was just so good at what he did. He knew he could get those extra laughs," Shilts said.

Jack Wood

Wood's legacy continues through the people and business owners who got to know him.

"He never met a stranger, and that is something we can all learn from, how to love more," Priola said.

"At the end of the day, we were just going to do anything, give our shirts off our backs for that guy," Tapp said. "Who he was and what he was is somewhat of a rarity, just a good ole guy that is very simple but kind and just genuine."